Moxam quits Wolves bench and takes a stand with new Northern Hockey Academy

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The Sudbury team prepares for the OHL Draft, with a lottery scheduled for Wednesday night

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The longest-serving member of the current Sudbury Wolves coaching staff will no longer be behind the team’s bench when the puck drops in 2022-23.

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Darryl Moxam, who joined Wolves as a part-time assistant in 2016 before being promoted to full-time associate coach, announced last weekend that he would not be returning to the local OHL club and had instead accepted a full-time role as general manager of the new Northern Hockey Academy.

“Now is the time, for me and my family and the stage where the kids are at,” said the 45-year-old Lively native, who will join Brian Doyle and Blake Didone to help launch the new venture at the former RHP Training. Installation of the center near Kelly Lake Road.

“Things are happening fast and I just think it’s important in the next two years to have a sense of security for everyone here. You combine that with the fact that these two gentlemen are at the helm of this new venture, that’s something that’s very close to my heart, the development of the skills not only of hockey players but of athletes in general, that it whether it’s volleyball or basketball, and seeing some of the shortcomings of the system in northern Ontario over the last 10 or 15 years, that was very much what I believe in.

“It’s just a great opportunity for everyone involved.”

He believes the NHA will address the lack of availability in the North for skill development opportunities, which is currently causing some players and parents to seek training at points further south.

“It’s not people teaching it, it’s more facilities and access, and that’s something I hear all the time from parents, taking their young sons or daughters into the Barrie area to do skills development and off-ice development all summer to get ready for the upcoming hockey season,” explained Moxam. “When you hear that once a month over a 12 month season, it leads me to believe that we are missing something here and we are missing an opportunity in Northern Ontario. Having worked with some of the best junior players in the country over the past six years and having had the chance to get a feel for the things they do back home, it kind of echoed to me that there’s something something we can do as a community to bridge the gap between some of the things kids do in the south and some of the things they do in the north.

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He will fondly remember his time with Wolves, most recently as the man responsible for overseeing the team’s defenders.

“It’s the people, no doubt,” Moxam said, listing the likes of owner Dario Zulich, general manager Rob Papineau and assistant general manager Ken MacKenzie, as well as the coaches he worked with during his half-term. dozen years in the organization. “Obviously the highlight is the players. You have guys like Liam Ross, who is graduating this year and a young man that anyone would be lucky to have as a son. He represents everyone in this organization with the utmost respect and you can’t ask for more.

Moxam is confident that the network of athletic and business contacts he has developed at the OHL, as well as Laurentian University’s sports administration program, will serve him well in his new role.

“You have the opportunity to work with some of the best people in the province and the country and learn from them and form bonds and friendships,” Moxam said, citing his season alongside the accomplished coach. Bud Stefanski as an example.

Papineau said Moxam, in turn, has had a positive impact on the Wolves organization, a team whose stated mission is to turn its players into “professional gentleman of character.”

“There is no doubt that throughout his career with the Sudbury Wolves, Darryl has been a role model as a professional gentleman of character,” said Papineau. “We wish him nothing but success with his new opportunity and look forward to maintaining a great relationship with him for many years to come.”

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Now preparing for OHL priority selection later this month, Papineau said he’s in no rush to fill Moxam’s position.

“We’re going to take time,” Sudbury’s general manager said. “When something like this happens you have a lot of different options and candidates and it’s something we will talk to our other coaches and management about. Our focus right now is really on the draft and on getting the draft done, making sure that’s a focus. We have a few weeks and many meetings with our scouting team, but as we move forward into the summer we will definitely have someone very qualified who can help with our organization in place for the start of the season.

While his position at the NHA should keep him sufficiently busy, Moxam is in no way ruling out a return to training. Indeed, he doesn’t see his new role as that different.

“I may leave the Sudbury Wolves bench next year but I am pursuing another business and sporting opportunity which I think will develop me as a person, develop me as a coach, develop me as a as a manager and a manager of people,” Moxam said. “Whether I find myself behind a bench this year or on the road, that door will never close.”

The Wolves are one of four teams entering the OHL’s Priority Selection Lottery on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Sudbury, Erie, Niagara and Saginaw will have an equal chance of drawing the first pick in the draft, which will be held online April 29-30.

bleeson@postmedia.com

Twitter: @ben_leeson

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